Budget 2018: From austerity to boom, Ireland’s last ten budgets

Successive governments implemented years of cuts before recovery took hold


The budgets everybody remembers are the ones with tax rises and spending cuts, and there have been a few of those in the last decade, with some respite in the last while. It remains to be seen where Budget 2018 fits in to this narrative. Here’s what the last ten budgets contained:

October 14th, 2008

–Measures designed to raise an extra €2 billion in tax and save €1 billion in spending

–A one per cent levy introduced on income up to €100,100 rising to two per cent on salaries over that amount

–The standard rate of VAT increases from 21 to 21.5 per cent

–Tax on petrol increases by eight cent a litre

–Duty on a standard bottle of wine goes up by 50 cent

–A €200 charge on all non-principal private residences is introduced

–Automatic entitlement to a medical card for people over 70 ends

April 7th, 2009 (emergency budget)

–Measures designed to raise €1.8 billion in taxes and cut spending by €1.5 billion

–The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) is established

–Income levy doubles and the thresholds at which it is charged is reduced

–Jobseeker’s allowance for under-20s is halved to €100 a week

–Excise on auto-diesel increases by 5 cent a litre

–Charge on a packet of 20 cigarettes increases by 25 cent

December 9th, 2009

–Cuts of €4 billion including more than €1 billion in public service pay

–Reduction of €760 million in social welfare

–Just under €1 billion cut from day-to-day spending and the same amount on capital projects

–Child benefit cut by €16 a month

–Excise duty on alcohol reduced

–Standard rate of VAT reduced by 0.5 per cent

December 7th, 2010

–Further fiscal adjustment takes €6 billion out of the economy

–10 per cent cut in tax credits and band

–New consolidated social charge of 7 per cent

–Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) ceiling abolished

–Unemployment benefits cut by €8 a week

–Minimum wage cut by €1 per hour to €7.65

–Public sector salaries capped at €250,000

December 5-6th, 2011

–The budget is split between two departments: The Department of Finance and the newly formed Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

–Public spending cuts of €2.2 billion and tax hikes of €1.6 billion bring the overall adjustment to €3.8 billion

–Back to school allowance scrapped for two and three-year-olds and payments reduced for all eligible children

–Threshold for the drug payment scheme goes up to €132 a month, an increase of €12

–Third-level registration fees increase by €250 to €2,250

–Household charge of €100 announced

–Higher rate of VAT rises by two points to 23 per cent

–Pay threshold for exemption from the universal social charge rises from €4,004 to €10,036

December 5th, 2012

–Fiscal adjustment of €3.5 billion hits almost every adult in the State

–Property tax introduced; child benefit reduced; extended PRSI; and cuts in entitlements for the elderly

–Increases in excise duty on alcohol and cigarettes, motor taxes, the student registration charge and Dirt tax on savings

–Cut to the respite care grant, and the treatment of maternity benefit as taxable income

–Carer’s grant reduces by €325 to €1,375 per annum

–Excise duty goes up by 10 cent on pints of beer and cider and measures of spirits, and by €1 on a bottle of wine

–Motor tax rises by between €10 and €126

–Reduction of €10 in child benefit

October 15th, 2013

–Fiscal adjustment sees cuts and tax-raising measures of €2.5bn

–Jobs stimulus package of €500 million

–Eligibility limits for medical card holders tightens; prescription charges increase; and maternity benefit is reduced

–Reduction in the income threshold for medical cards for the over-70s; telephone allowance ends; and the bereavement grant is abolished

–Beer, spirits and cigarettes go up by 10 cent, while the price of a bottle of wine increases by 50 cent

–Free GP care for all children aged five and under is introduced

–Payments for 22 to 24- year-old jobseekers falls from €144 to €100 a week, while 25-year-olds get €144 a week instead of €188

October 14th, 2014

–The Government puts an additional €1 billion into the economy

–0.6 per cent pension levy to end in 2014; additional 0.15 per cent levy to expire at the end of 2015

–USC entry level raised from €10,000 to just over €12,000; upper ceiling for the first band increases from €16,000 to just above the level of the minimum wage

–Reductions in 2 per cent USC band to 1.5 per cent; and the 4 per cent USC band to 3.5 per cent

–Income tax rate of 41 per cent reduced to 40 per cent

–Medical card holders and over-70s earning less than €60,000 liable to a maximum Universal Social Charge (USC) of 3.5 per cent

–Packet of 20 cigarettes increases by 40 cent, with a 25g packet of rolling tobacco increased by 25 cent

October 13th, 2015

–Government’s overall package for 2016 amounts to €3 billion

–Excise duty on 20 cigarettes increases by 50 cent

–Entry point to the USC rises from €12,012 to €13,000; three lower USC rates fall

–Marginal rate of tax down to a maximum of 49.5 per cent for earners under €70,044

–Free pre-school childcare for children from three years of age until they start primary education or reach the age of five and a half years

–Old age pension increases by €3 per week

–Child benefit increases by €5 per month to €140

–Extension of free GP care scheme to children aged under 12

October 11th, 2016

–Total budget adjustment of €1.3 billion, weighted at about 3:1 between spending increases and tax cuts

–Three lowest USC rates reduced by 0.5 per cent

–Pack of 20 cigarettes increases by 50 cent

–Help-to-buy scheme introduced

–State pension increases by €5

–Increased jobseeker’s allowance to recipients under 25 of €2.70

–Social welfare recipients entitled to a Christmas bonus equal to 85 per cent of their weekly payment

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